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Worse than Enron? Shrug.

“Look at the numbers. Of the $410 million, $125 million represents the disgorgement of illicit profits from Morgan’s scheme — money the bank wouldn’t have collected at all if it operated within the law. (The sum is supposed to be returned to ratepayers.) So that doesn’t count. The real punishment is the balance of $285 million. How badly will that hurt JPMorgan Chase? Well, the big bank collected $97 billion in net revenue last year, so it represents a little more than a single day of intake.

Ask yourself: If you could steal $125 million, with the only downside being that if you got caught you might have to give the money back and lose a single day’s income, would you give it a go? Me too.”

On the announcement that J.P. Morgan will be paying a pittance for engaging in massive Enron-style energy fraud, the L.A. Times‘ Michael Hiltzik calls out the regulatory sham for what it is. “Our top regulators actually think they’ve gotten the better of a huge illegal enterprise, which is a good sign that they’re delusional. They didn’t even get Morgan to admit that it had done anything wrong.”

It’s tempting to hate on FERC for agreeing to this sucker’s deal, but let’s face it, this type of wink-and-a-nod, Potemkin oversight is endemic across our supposed regulatory agencies. (See also: the (lack of) fallout from JP Morgan’s Whale Trade.)

It used to be, not even all that long ago, people and companies who engaged in systemic energy and financial fraud went to prison. Now…not so much. Today, they not only continue to be treated as esteemed citizens by the highest levels of government — They even have the temerity to complain they’re being over regulated.

Meanwhile, our ostensibly progressive administration spends much of its days trying to prosecute whistleblowers and poor people to the fullest extent of the law. Some system. Honestly, if you’re not disgusted at this point, you’re not paying attention.


4 Responses to “Worse than Enron? Shrug.”

  1. So Obama is a deliberate facilitator of criminals and criminal behavior? It would appear so, but I never stop hoping that there is some other explanation. Obama’s real goals, in your opinion, are what? Just to feather his own nest and ensure that he has a gilded retirement? or is he really intentionally installing a pervasive and permanent corporatocracy? These are the questions I’ve struggle with. It’s hard to come up with a third option but if, in your opinion, there is one I’d so love to hear about it.

    Posted by Keara | August 1, 2013, 6:00 pm
  2. I can’t speak to what goes on in the president’s head. But the shortest, easiest answer is he’s probably just doing what he thinks is right.

    As a friend of mine put it here: “He is a conservative technocrat, running a policy architecture to ensure that conservative technocrats like him run the complex machinery of the state and reap private rewards from doing so. Radical political and economic inequality is the result.” Unfortunately, he is far from the only Democrat around who thinks thus.

    Posted by KcM | August 1, 2013, 6:17 pm
  3. paupers and “outsiders” cannot gather the resources required to reach a decision making position in the governing bodies. Those who do achieve positions of power have already achieved “success” as defined by those in power or will be indentured servants to their sources of revenue. Consequently, the chances of a departure from the “good old boy” network and the mindset embraced by by its members are exceedingly remote. The two party system is not significantly different from a one party system when both parties are run by the same elites.A slap on the wrist is usually accompanied by a wink and a pat on the back

    Posted by Von Pelot | November 15, 2013, 12:30 am

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